Cedar Park, Leander restaurants see dip in customers but remain open

To help offset an approximately 50 percent drop in business, Blue Corn Harvest Bar & Grill in Cedar Park has created curbside service and reserved two parking spaces in front of the restaurant. Santos Garcia, one of the restaurant's owners, said it will allow people hesitant to eat inside to still order food with minimal human contact. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
To help offset an approximately 50 percent drop in business, Blue Corn Harvest Bar & Grill in Cedar Park has created curbside service and reserved two parking spaces in front of the restaurant. Santos Garcia, one of the restaurant's owners, said it will allow people hesitant to eat inside to still order food with minimal human contact. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

To help offset an approximately 50 percent drop in business, Blue Corn Harvest Bar & Grill in Cedar Park has created curbside service and reserved two parking spaces in front of the restaurant. Santos Garcia, one of the restaurant's owners, said it will allow people hesitant to eat inside to still order food with minimal human contact. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Cherry Creek Catfish Co. is operating with about half as many customers as usual. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Kameron McCormick, area manager Nolan Moreno and Sara Peak serve customers during lunch March 16. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Mouton's Southern Bistro will reopen a drive-thru window to accommodate customers. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Blue Corn Harvest had a slower lunch hour March 16. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Casa Costa Bake Shop in Leander plans to add curbside service and continue online orders in addition to its regular service. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Two parking spaces are reserved for curbside customers outside Blue Corn Harvest. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
The Village at Cedar Park is at 700 E. Whitestone Blvd. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Operations manager James Odendahl and co-owner Santos Garcia said Blue Corn Harvest in Cedar Park is open for both curbside and dine-in business. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Restaurants throughout Cedar Park and Leander are coping with a drop in walk-in customers by beginning or advocating for online, to-go, drive-thru and curbside services, according to interviews and social media posts.

To help offset an approximately 50% drop in business, Blue Corn Harvest Bar & Grill, located in the Village in Cedar Park shopping center, began offering curbside service over the weekend. Two parking spaces in front of the restaurant March 16 were reserved for curbside customers.

Several states have closed bars and dine-in services for restaurants, but no such restrictions have happened in Texas yet.

Santos Garcia, one of Blue Corn Harvest's owners, said March 16 it will allow people hesitant to dine inside to still order food with minimal human contact. All they need to do is view the online menu and call the restaurant to place an order, he said.

"We are taking all the precautions and following the health department's recommendations for cleaning," Garcia said.


Garcia said the restaurant is also taking extra steps for sit-down customers, such as more frequent and thorough sanitizing of menus and other high-touch places. During the lunch hour March 16, approximately six tables were occupied—well below a normal lunch crowd, Garcia said.

Several doors down at Thundercloud Subs, area manager Nolan Moreno said there was a slight dip in business, but it was not as large as other restaurants.

"I'm looking for it to happen, but it hasn't yet," Moreno said. "I think the fact that they can watch us make their order makes a difference."

Moreno said there was an uptick in online orders being delivered by third-party companies—and a dip in older customers.

"There weren't as many elderly folks over the weekend," he said.

In Leander, many restaurants are “business as usual” and have not altered opening times or seen any changes in food shipments. Restaurants have added extra sanitary precautions and provided hand sanitizer for customers.

Cherry Creek Catfish Co., located at 11840 Old FM 2243 W., Bldg. A, Leander, is remaining open with takeout options. General Manager Jess Melisz said weekend business was slower, and March 16 lunch service had about half as many customers as usual.

“We’re doing everything we can to stay open,” Melisz said.

Smokey Mo’s BBQ, located at 11880 Hero Way W., Leander, is running as usual with more preprepared food items and limited seating areas, said Alfred Garza, a district manager.

Garza said Friday and Sunday were busy like usual, but Saturday had much less customer traffic.

At Casa Costa Bake Shop in Leander, owner Katie Fujita said customer traffic did not change too much over the weekend, but March 16 traffic was slower than usual. She said the bakery will remain open for now, but plans to add curbside delivery are underway. Employees at another coffee shop, Black Sugar Caffe at 1310 Cypress Creek Road, Ste. 100, in Cedar Park, said business March 16 was also slow.

Mouton’s Southern Bistro, located at 309 N. Hwy. 183, Leander, has not altered its food service, but the restaurant is aiming to seat customers at least one table apart. The restaurant will also reopen its drive-thru window as soon as possible, owner Ben Mouton said.

General Manager Tracy Hamilton said sales were definitely down over the weekend. The weekend was very slow at the restaurant. Hamilton said the restaurant can still offer food through Uber Eats, GrubHub, online ordering or by phone.

“Until we’re told to shut down, it’s business as usual,” Hamilton said.

Moreno encouraged customers to support local restaurants.

"We're open for business, and we're certainly taking every precaution," he said.
By Taylor Girtman
After interning with Community Impact Newspaper in 2019, Taylor Girtman became a reporter for the Cedar Park and Leander edition in Feb. 2020. She covers Cedar Park and Leander city councils.
By Brian Perdue
Brian Perdue is the editor of the Cedar Park-Leander edition of Community Impact Newspaper. A native of Virginia's Appalachian Mountains, he has been a journalist since 1992, living and working in Virginia, Washington D.C., Hawaii's Big Island, Southern California and Florida before moving to Austin in 2019.


MOST RECENT

The deaths bring Travis County's total fatalities during the pandemic to 88. (Community Impact staff)
Three new coronavirus deaths reported in Travis County May 26

The deaths bring Travis County's total fatalities during the pandemic to 88.

Austin-Travis County Health Authority Mark Escott gives a virtual coronavirus update to the Travis County Commissioners Court, led by interim Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe. (Courtesy Travis County)
Travis County sees renewed upward trend in recent coronavirus cases, indicating a possible second surge

Weeks after Texas loosened public health restrictions, local authorities are seeing increased COVID-19 cases in Travis County.

About 50 hospitals and more than 800 patient care sites fall under the Baylor Scott & White umbrella, including this hospital in Frisco. (Courtesy Baylor Scott & White)
Baylor Scott & White Health to lay off 1,200 after reporting 'drastic drop' in visits

The layoffs represent 3% of the health system’s workforce.

Starting May 19, water parks will be able to open up to 25% capacity. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott issues proclamation allowing water parks to open

Starting Friday, May 29, water parks will be allowed to open but must limit guests to 25% of their normal operating capacity.

Cedar Park reopens recreation center with required reservations

The center reopened its cardio and weight room, track, basketball courts and pickleball courts.

Project Connect, Capital Metro's public transportation expansion plan, would include three light-rail lines running through the city and underground train stations downtown. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
Is now the right time to rethink transit in Austin? Local leaders respond to community questions about Project Connect

Austin City Council and the Capital Metro board of directors will decide June 10 on whether to adopt Project Connect—the plan to revamp public transportation in the area.

The flute section of the Rouse High School marching band from Leander performs in this 2017 file photo. (Courtesy Leander ISD)
Texas schools may begin hosting sports workouts, band practices June 8

The University Interscholastic League released guidelines for allowing sports workouts and marching bands to practice.

Williamson County Commissioners Court approved two grant programs for specialty courts during a special meeting May 26. (Screenshot courtesy Williamson County)
Williamson County Court at Law 2 seeks grant funding for veterans and DWI/drug treatment specialty courts

The Williamson County Commissioners Court approved the grant applications during a special meeting May 26.

The Goodwater Trail around Lake Georgetown is one of two Texas trails with an International Mountain Bicycling Association Epic designation. This distinction means a trail is considered technically demanding, physically challenging and set within a landscape that is beautiful to behold. (Courtesy Paul Littlefield/Georgetown Cyclewerx)
Slaying ‘The Dragon': Goodwater Trail at Lake Georgetown draws adventure-seeking cyclists

The trail is one of only two in Texas with an International Mountain Bicycling Association Epic designation.

May 25 specifically saw 86 new coronavirus cases, the single largest one-day jump in the county during the pandemic. (Graphic by Community Impact Newspaper)
172 new COVID-19 cases in Travis County, two new deaths over Memorial Day weekend

May 25 specifically saw 86 new coronavirus cases, the single largest one-day jump in the county during the pandemic.

Renderings show plans for a transit station as part of Capital Metro's Project Connect. (Rendering courtesy Capital Metro)
Changes to Project Connect plan add $60 million to local cost estimate

Capital Metro Board Chair Wade Cooper called the upcoming June 10 meeting to finalize the technical aspects of the plan "one of the most consequential votes this board has taken in its history."